Trader Joe’s Empanadas

Recently, one shopper stumbled upon one such great freezer find at a local Trader Joe’s, and they could not resist sharing the news with their followers on Instagram. User @traderjoesfoodreviews made a post alerting followers to the Chicken & Chimichurri Empanadas, rating the new item an 8.5 out of 10. “I love an amazing empanada, so I was so excited to see these brand-new chicken and chimichurri empanadas in the frozen section! They were surprisingly extremely flavorful,” the caption stated.

Does Trader Joe's have empanadas?
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Empanadas are simultaneously simple and entirely unexpected. Cached
Best of all, these chicken and chimichurri empanadas don’t take long to prepare at all, so they are perfect for a quick snack or dinner on a busy night. They simply need to be popped in an oven to be ready to eat in under 30 minutes, or they can go from freezer to plate in just 15 minutes when cooked in an air fryer. So, if you’ve been looking for some convenient frozen meals to have on hand for hectic days, then you won’t want to miss out on this new Trader Joe’s item.Empanadas are fried or baked pastries typically shaped like a crescent moon. There are numerous styles of empanadas to choose from these days, and even more fillings! What some people don’t realize is that empanadas can be sweet or savory. Traditionally, empanadas are filled with protein such as beef, chicken, pork, tuna, seafood, etc. or other fillings like potatoes, vegetables, cheese, and more. You can occasionally find sweet empanadas that contain fruit or a dessert-like filling. Empanadas are delicious but can be challenging to make by hand. Frozen options exist in grocery stores, but we can assure you that any empanada made in a factory is not going to be authentic or delicious. It’s best to get them from family, friends, or local eateries who specialize in them. Making empanadas is a true art form that requires finesse and a lot of practice to perfect.

It’s unclear exactly when empanadas transitioned into tiny, individual pastries as opposed to the larger pie. It became obvious that this personal style was favored. Each individual pasty can be stuffed to the brim with the stuffing of your choice, and very little will fall out onto your plate. Flavor profiles have also changed, and certain types of empanadas have grown in popularity. In Argentinian history, the empanada was once known as the working man’s meal because it contained a full meal that was easy to carry to work. Empanadas have become an Argentinian staple when family parties are looking for a quick and filling meal. Restaurants throughout the country like to create unique and extravagant recipes featuring fillings you can’t find elsewhere. Largely however, empanadas have stayed pretty true to their roots. So long as you get a crispy and flaky pastry stuffed with hearty fillings, you have yourself a great example of this Latin American favorite.
Empanadas are first cited to be from Portugal and Galacia, Spain. “Empanada” comes from “empanar” which means “to wrap or coat in bread” in Spanish. The earliest mention of empanadas by name is in a 1520’s cookbook in Catalan! The original empanadas resembled pies that were sliced into single pieces, but the basic concept has been the same ever since. As history progressed, Spanish colonists brought the dish with them to Latin America and the Philippines. Argentina has become world-famous for their empanadas which are widely available in Buenos Aires and across the country as fast-food options and restaurant staples. As with many recipes, that of empanadas was shared through generations and carried to many other nations. To better fit the tastes and resources of each country, adaptations were made that have led to a variety of styles.America is a melting pot of cultures. Immigrants from all over the globe have come to America all throughout history. With them, these people bring in culture, music, religion, and food! The empanada is a popular dish from Latin America and other similar cultures that has found its way into the hearts of Americans. When did this delicious dish come to be and how has it gotten to what it is? Let’s take a look!

We and our partners use cookies to Store and/or access information on a device. We and our partners use data for Personalised ads and content, ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. An example of data being processed may be a unique identifier stored in a cookie. Some of our partners may process your data as a part of their legitimate business interest without asking for consent. To view the purposes they believe they have legitimate interest for, or to object to this data processing use the vendor list link below. The consent submitted will only be used for data processing originating from this website. If you would like to change your settings or withdraw consent at any time, the link to do so is in our privacy policy accessible from our home page..The texture of the corn-based, deep-fried doughs of northern South America brings in another element: sauce. You’ll see the occasional hot sauce in other places, but the crisp crust and tender inner texture of corn empanadas invite the opportunity for additional condiments. Colombian empanadas are traditionally served with ají, an onion and tomatoes sauce (and a slice of lime), and in Venezuela, you’ll find guasacaca, which will replace any improper thoughts you might have had about guacamole with dreams of this light, bright, herb and avocado sauce, picante de leche (a milk-based hot sauce), and picante katara. Picante katara (or catara) is actually made from ants (a type called bachaco) cooked in yuca water, then simply mixed with scallions, leeks, and salt. The spice, reportedly, comes from the venom in the ant’s ample tail portion.It’s difficult to travel through its namesake northern Argentinean province of Salta, Bolivia (where it’s basically the national dish), or into southern Peru and miss out on this specialty—unless you sleep in. Much like pho in Vietnam, salteñas are a time-specific dish, and if you’re not out of bed before noon, you might miss out. It is, however, unlikely you’ll need to be very far out of bed, as salteñas are everywhere in Bolivia: if you somehow made it from bed to bus without a basket being proffered, there most certainly will be a woman selling them on the bus. Later in the morning, llauchas, giant empanadas stuffed with Bolivian cheese, become a mid-morning snack, while pukacapa, a round, spicy, cheese empanada laced with rocoto pepper, are traditional in the afternoon.

While empanadas are now more or less a form of hand pie, that’s not exactly where they came from. The Galician empanada from northern Spain, forebear of the current empanada that’s prevalent in Latin America, is a large two-crust pie baked in a round pie plate or rectangular dish. The yeasted dough exterior holds fillings that usually include bell peppers and onion along with a protein—commonly tuna or chicken. Sliced into individual squares, they start to look slightly more like the single-serving descendants spread throughout the New World, where early Spanish conquerors brought the dish.
Once it landed on the shores of Latin America, the empanada shrank to its current handheld size and adapted to local climates, evolving with every incoming colonizer. As it spread, dough variations lost the yeast, some morphing into a more pastry-style crust, cut with beef fat or butter (especially in the cattle-raising regions of Argentina), while others lost the wheat flour entirely: empanadas in Venezuela and Colombia are made with corn flour, and in Caribbean countries, yuca or plantain serves as the starch. What’s inside divides empanada geography even further, with specific states often staking their claim to a specific style of beef filling (with or without olives, raisins, eggs, or peppers), while others focus on cheese or even sweets such as dulce de leche or guava. Finally, there is the greatest divider of empanada lovers of all: fried or baked?

What are the ingredients in Trader Joe's empanadas?
filling (boneless skinless chicken thigh, potato, carrot, green cabbage, chimichurri sauce (sunflower oil, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, parsley, olive oil, green onions, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, black pepper, cane sugar), onion, red bell pepper, diced tomatoes in juice (tomatoes, tomato juice, sea salt, … Cached
Empanadas in Argentina use a dough that’s somewhat similar to the Galician fore-panada, but from there things get crazy with the country’s dizzying array of fillings. The prototypical Argentine hand-sized version is a simple wheat and fat (butter, lard, or beef fat) dough surrounding ground beef, onions, olives, and hard-boiled egg, baked in the oven. But empanadas in Argentina are like pizza is in the United States: available in a variety of crusts (baked or fried), with every imaginable filling (beyond from the basic beef, chicken, cheese, Caprese, corn-based humita, and mushroom are popular), and often delivered to your doorstep.

Sweet empanadas are a more recent development, and tend to be more common further north: in Mexico, where empanadas are a bakery item, served as breakfast or a snack with coffee, and in the Caribbean, where tropical fruits and jams tend to serve as filling. Guava paste, sometimes in tandem with cheese for a sweet and savory flavor, is common. In Uruguay and Argentina, dulce de leche, a sweet milky caramel that infiltrates nearly every dessert, is popular, while in Mexico, you’ll find cajeta, a nutty goat milk caramel with the tiniest snap of barnyard funk. Pumpkin pie lovers should seek out the small pumpkin empanada found in Mexico: sweetened and spiced with cinnamon, they’re a snack-sized version of the Thanksgiving treat. As empanadas enter the Pinterest era, restaurants and home cooks push the stuffing envelope, packing in combinations of fruit, chocolate, caramel, Nutella, Oreos, and anything else that can be wrapped in dough and served for dessert.
Maybe it’s not as quick as picking up an empanada on your way home from school, but making empanadas at home is pretty easy, as far as dinner goes, especially if you use a pre-made dough. (We won’t judge!) If making your own empanadas sounds appealing, here are a few Serious Eats recipes to get you started.Baked empanadas tend to be more common, though that changes depending where you are in the country. In Tucumán, (home of the National Empanada Festival) the three specialty fillings of the region (beef, tripe, and chicken) are wrapped in dough, then cooked in beef fat in a clay oven. Empanadas from San Juan province include a whole (unpitted!) olive. In Córdoba, a little sugar is added to the filling. In Colombia and Venezuela, wheat flour empanadas begin to fade from the landscape and corn flour empanadas (almost always fried) spring up in their place. The corn flour used is not the masa flour for tortillas or the cornmeal on the bottom of your pizza: it’s more finely ground and has been pre-cooked (generally, the whole, dried kernels are boiled, then ground). It comes in yellow and white varieties and its main use is for making arepas, the round bread (often split and stuffed) that is the regional specialty. Empanadas in Colombia most commonly use a ground-beef picadillo-type filling with potatoes and onions. In Venezuela, fresh farmers’ cheeses are often stuffed inside, which makes a great snack or appetizer, but hungrier people should look to the pabellón filling. Pabellón is the national dish of Venezuela, and the empanada version simply contains all the same elements, but enveloped into the corn-based dough: shredded beef, caraotas (black beans), and tajadas (fried sweet plantains). Dominó, like the game of dominos, is black (caraotas) and white (cheese), while the list of local variations is endless, including regional specialties such as pepitonas (clams). Baby shark might sound like an adventurous option, but empanadas de cazón are a treat in Venezuela. The small, very much fish-like animal is nothing to be scared of, but Venezuelan Vitols does warn of a different danger: spurts of orange grease that ooze out as you eat this version. Plantains, which in their maduro (mature or sweet) form are often seen as an empanada filling, can be used similar to yuca as the dough in both the maduro or verde (green, unripe) form. In El Salvador, mature plantains (softened from the ripening process in which the starch becomes sugar) form the dough for black bean empanadas or sweet empanadas filled with a custardy sugared milk (called leche poleada), cooked until thick. Empanadas de verde, using unripe plantains (still in the starchy phase), are popular along the Ecuadorian coast, usually filled with cheese, seafood or meat. When we asked for empanada input, Ecaudorian food blogger Layla Pujol (who has written an excellent guide to empanadas herself) reminisced about her mother buying empanadas de verde at the market, then bringing them home to fry so they could be eaten warm.No matter the stuffing or the style, the ubiquity and love for the empanada is not a difficult one to understand. Venezuelan food photographer and entrepreneur Valentina Vitols sums it up: An empanada is “cheap, easy to eat, and there’s just nothing foo-foo about it.” It’s the food of the masses, easily transportable, and versatile—you can stuff an empanada with just about anything. Travelers in Latin America look back fondly on the empanada ladies, boarding buses and manning the streets with baskets full of fresh, still-warm empanadas, and ex-pats yearn for the ease of picking up pre-made, cook-at-home versions at a market. But which kind they dream of depends on where they were, as the empanada landscape of Latin America is as varied as the noodles of Asia. We hope not to set off the food-loving hordes, but we must inform you that the salteña, the meat empanada of Bolivia and its bordering states, is the xiao long bao of empanadas. As in soup dumplings, gelatin traps broth as a solid inside the dough when cold, then melts, turning back into liquid during the baking process. Like soup dumplings, these empanadas must be carefully nibbled from the top to avoid spurting molten-hot liquid from the pastry into one’s mouth, onto one’s shirt, or (oops) onto one’s seatmate on the bus. The hefty outer shell of wheat dough barely contains the stew-like innards, a mess of meat (usually beef or chicken), potatoes, vegetables (usually peas), the occasional egg and/or olive, and sauce of gelatin, broth, and spicy yellow chiles. That’s a lot of ingredients stuffed into something that fits in your hand. Before we get too far: what do we mean by an empanada? At its simplest (which is very simple), an empanada is filling encased in starchy dough—the word empanada literally translates to “wrapped in bread” (which basically describes half the food eaten in the world). Even just sticking to those things actually called empanadas only limits the discussion a little bit. It does mean goodbye to Jamaican patties and Cornish pasties, tchau to Brazilian pasteles, adios to Dominican pastelitos and orevwa to Haitian pates. It leaves the xianbing and baos of China, calzones of Italy, and Hot Pockets of the United States for another time. But just looking at that list suggests how broad the spectrum of empanada-like foodstuffs is around the world.If you’ve ever visited Argentina, ridden a bus in Bolivia, or made friends with a Venezuelan, you’ve probably tasted an empanada of some sort. But it would take a lifetime of non-stop empanada-eating to try all of the infinite combinations of doughs, fillings, and cooking methods that are so closely tied to the specific culture, flora, and fauna in each region of Latin America. To describe each and every one of these would monopolize your time for the next few weeks, so instead, this article will help you understand the wide world of empanadas, the styles that are typical in different regions, and how empanadas are woven into the fabric of each culture. While we weren’t able to track down any live rabbit empanadas available today, we’ve got baby sharks, a sauce made from ants, and a hand-pie that shares key features with the beloved Shanghainese soup dumpling.

“Live rabbits hopp
ed out of some of the large empanadas; birds fluttered from others.” That’s how food historian Rachel Laudan, in her book Cuisine and Empire, describes a feast eaten by Hernán Cortés and the Spanish Viceroy in Mexico City in 1538. Among the myriad dishes at the three-day feast were “empanadas of fish, fowl, and game.”
Empanada shops announce the flavor of the empanada with a decoration on the seam (called the repulgue) or with a flourish of extra dough; each shape signifies a different filling, making it easy to pick out the empanada you’d like. Well, that’s the theory: an empanada delivery often comes with diagrams of barely-discernable fold types identifying each empanada. Vegetarians be warned—break it open and check before you bite!

Which country has the best empanadas?
Two countries, however are internationally renowned for their takes on the empanada: Colombia and Argentina.
When you visit the site, Dotdash Meredith and its partners may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Cookies collect information about your preferences and your devices and are used to make the site work as you expect it to, to understand how you interact with the site, and to show advertisements that are targeted to your interests. You can find out more about our use, change your default settings, and withdraw your consent at any time with effect for the future by visiting Cookies Settings, which can also be found in the footer of the site.Of Ecuador’s vast variety of empanadas, ranging from region to region (Ecuador has Amazonian jungle, high mountain, lowlands, and coastline), empanadas de viento are Pujol’s favorite. The name, which means empanadas of the wind, refers to how light they are—an odd characteristic to highlight in a dish consisting of a fat-laden dough wrapped around cheese and then deep-fried. The puffy empanadas, sprinkled with a bit of sugar, are a typical street food, though they are also served as an appetizer or side dish in restaurants. Despite the sugar topping, they are not generally considered a sweet empanada.

Throughout the Caribbean and stretching down the adjacent coasts, the tropical landscape provides an alternative to either corn or wheat doughs: starchy vegetables. In Colombia, yuca (cassava) “dough” (it’s simply boiled and mashed) can be seen alongside the corn flour versions—with similar fillings, preparation, and accompaniments. Yuca empanadas are called catibias in the Dominican Republic; Dominican chef Manu Alfau serves them at his Seattle restaurant Manu’s Bodega, praising the crispiness they get from the high starch content and deep-frying. The unique texture isn’t easy to achieve, though, he says, pointing out that these aren’t something that people make at home, because of the labor-intensive process of grinding and kneading the starchy root into a dough.The empanada scene doesn’t change much from Buenos Aires as you head north to Uruguay, but moving west, Chilean empanadas have slight regional variations. Along the coast you’ll find seafood (mussels, the treasured pink razor clams, or shrimp) cooked into empanadas—with none of the Italian concern of mixing seafood and cheese. The most common meat version, called pino, isn’t far from what you’d find in Argentina. The beef, egg, and olive combination is a bit juicier than the Argentine version, thanks to a higher ratio of onions cooked into the mix, and sweeter, from the addition of raisins. The dough, instead of being artfully pinched, is usually folded over, into a square, so it looks a bit like a mailing envelope.”Once it landed on the shores of Latin America, the empanada shrank to its current handheld size and adapted to local climates, evolving with every incoming colonizer.”

I cooked our empanadas in our air fryer and served them alongside some tacos and nachos. They are flavorful, with lightly crisp outer breading and tender filling. We mostly tasted and saw the chicken and carrots inside, and all the other filling components were fairly soft and indistinguishable. My husband and I liked these, while our kids thought they were okay. They’re not spicy but simply have good chicken and vegetable flavor with some seasoning. We’ve had some excellent empanadas from a local Mexican restaurant during the past couple of years, and while these Trader Joe’s empanadas are not on the same level as what we’ve bought at restaurants, they’re pretty good on their own merits.

What are 3 types of empanadas?
In Tucumán, (home of the National Empanada Festival) the three specialty fillings of the region (beef, tripe, and chicken) are wrapped in dough, then cooked in beef fat in a clay oven.
To air fry, lay frozen empanadas in the basket. If cooking both empanadas at the same time, make sure they do not touch each other. Set the air fryer at 375 degrees and cook for 15 minutes or until the inside of the empanada reaches 165 degrees. Remove from the basket and allow to cool for 3 minutes before serving.

Trader Joe’s Chicken & Chimichurri Empanadas feature tender dark meat chicken, vegetables and seasonings wrapped in a pastry. They’re decent as far as empanadas go, and they’re easy to bake or air fry. They make for a good snack or a nice side dish or appetizer as part of a Mexican- or Spanish-themed meal.
If you’re looking out for allergens, these contain wheat. Some of the veggies in the filling include potato, carrot, green cabbage, onion, bell peppers, and diced tomato.

One empanada (110 grams) has 250 calories, 10 grams of total fat (13% DV), 2 grams of saturated fat (10% DV), 25 mg of cholesterol (8% DV), 560 mg of sodium (24% DV), 28 grams of total carbohydrates (10% DV), 2 grams of total sugars, and no added sugars.

Which country has best empanadas?
Two countries, however are internationally renowned for their takes on the empanada: Colombia and Argentina.
To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the empanadas from packaging and place them on an oven-proof dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.Empanadas consist of bread or some type of pastry filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, spices, or other ingredients. The dough is folded over the filling — like a turnover — and then baked or fried. They possibly originated in Spain but are common in many countries and cultures now, especially in South and Central America.

Trader Joe’s Chicken & Chimichurri Empanadas cost $4.29 for a 7.75-ounce box at the time of publication. Each box contains two empanadas. The package describes this as “dark chicken meat, vegetables & chimichurri sauce in a traditional flaky pastry.”
My family loves tacos, tamales, quesadillas, fajitas, chimichangas, and any food with a Mexican or Spanish flair. Trader Joe’s, which is a cousin to Aldi, sells many of our favorites. During a recent TJ’s run, I picked up some empanadas from the freezer aisle.

great snack to have around. they were done in 15 minutes in the air fryer. chicken is shredded, the filling is very much chimichurri flavor. a little on the salty side if salt is a concern I would definitely avoid these.
These were really good. They were a good size, about the same size as you would get from a gas station (Comparing the size, not the quality). The quality and taste was good this has become my new fav. I cooked this in a toaster oven @ 400 degrees and cooked it until it started to brown and start to turn black on the tips. This made it fluffy and crunchy. Cook time was prob 20+ min. I only go to Trader Joe’s once every 6 months due to the distance Please come to Bradenton FL. So I hope this is there next to round.

Are cheese empanadas healthy?
Traditional empanada recipes typically are made from dough that is filled with beef and cheese, which is then fried. While it’s quite tasty, it isn’t the healthiest meal you can consume.
The photo on the package looks exactly as the words describe the product. You can see bits of chicken, carrots, cabbage, onion, and minced vegetables. The empanadas appear to be well stuffed and over an inch thick at the middle fullness. The actual empanadas are thin and disappointing. No individual ingredients of the filling are identifiable. No chicken meatiness is discernible. My family could not guess what the filling was. It did not taste like any empanadas we ever had before, and certainly there was not a clue of chimichurri sauce. The only flavor present was salt.

Ingredients: filling (boneless chicken, chicken thigh, potato, carrot, green cabbage, chimichurri sauce [sunflower oil, red bell pepper, cilantro, red onion, parsley, olive oil, green onions, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, black pepper, cane sugar], onion, red bell pepper, diced tomatoes in juice [tomatoes, tomato juice, sea salt, citric acid [to preserve], garlic, water, cumin, canola oil], paprika, thyme, oregano leaves, cumin seed), pastry (unbleached enriched wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, water, canola oil, salt).Didn’t have the same experience as Janet at all. These came out great in the air fryer and were pretty tasty. You can’t really taste chimichurri but why expect that flavor to be prominent? Chimichurri is something you have on the side with empanadas. I wish these were available at Costco.

Maybe the trick is using an air fryer, because these were terrible using a conventional stove. The taste was bland and there was hardly no chicken in my pastries. I cooked mine longer than recommended so they would be semi-crunchy (it worked), because the time suggested didn’t yield a “done” serving (to my liking). The only reason why I’m giving it one star is that the small amount of chicken in them were not dry. I’m usually a big fan of TJ’s frozen foods, but this one was disappointing.

Are frozen empanadas already cooked?
It doesn’t matter what kind of empanada are you baking, you can mix them up on the same tray since the filling is already cooked. Once they are baked, it is possible to reheat using a microwave or conventional oven.
We had these the other day for apps with margaritas. I cooked them then cut them in half. We all found them very tasty! We dipped in orange sauce and/or crema.In sharp contrast to their wheat-based primos argentinos, Colombian empanadas use corn as a base for the dough. These tasty treats are usually fried, making them crispier. The filling here, whether it be beef, pork, or chicken is usually shredded. It’s usually hard to tell what’s inside of a Colombian empanada just by looking at it. They seriously all look the same. But no matter what the filling is, Colombian empanadas are actually just yummy sauce receptacles. And they usually come with ají picante, (hot sauce).

Who is famous for empanadas?
As history progressed, Spanish colonists brought the dish with them to Latin America and the Philippines. Argentina has become world-famous for their empanadas which are widely available in Buenos Aires and across the country as fast-food options and restaurant staples.
Now that we’ve described the basic differences, it’s time for you to decide which you prefer. Gather your friends for an empanada tasting! Buy several empanadas with different fillings from each country. Have your guests bring along their favorite cervezas, and decide for yourself which country deserves the title of empanada king!If we had to describe the perfect Argentine empanadas in two words, we’d say flaky and savory. These gems have a wheat-based dough that’s usually baked to perfection. Some fry their empanadas, but the oven-baked method is much more common. Fillings can vary, but my standout are the picadillo-filled. Snazzy shops stamp the borders of their empanadas so consumers can easily identify what’s inside. Desgraciadamente, not everyone does this. I, personally, have a hard time telling what’s inside unless they’re stamped. Argentine empanadas are usually deliciously moist, so sauce is really optional here.But the other one was even worse. I mean, look at the edge! It’s not just underbaked, it squishes! You may get different results with an airfryer, but if you’re using an oven, I’d go the full 25 minutes, and possibly add up to another 5 minutes to the bake time. My bet is the ricotta filling is just too moist for this dough, so there may be no helping it.

The instructions give you two options — conventional oven or airfryer. I baked mine. And while you do get a little bit of browning, we also had a filling blow out.
I had high hopes for Trader Joe’s Cheese Empanadas with Cassava Crust. I’ve had muffins and other things made with cassava flour and there were no weird textural issues at all. But, these did not go well at all for me.